WalaHaja #10: Pursuing answers, belonging to a new vision

WalaHaja #10: Pursuing answers, belonging to a new vision

“Nowhere and everywhere.”

This is how my psyche responded to the question of belonging. The chaos, corruption and mobbing of where I came from and the mismatch of energies everywhere else brought me back to basics and Dahab was the place to be.

“Paris broke him” that’s what they said about Ragner Lothbrok. Though, for me it was “Berlin”.

The Samurai Warrior being framed into “The enemy of the community and the state” required a different type of journey, a journey of surrender and healing that started with a trip to Al-Sorat Farm:

Life could be unfair sometimes and that’s okay, our duty as humans is to accept and make peace with that and with the intensely broken parts of our being as a result of interfacing with the experience of being part of that world.

Though, sometimes our social duties and what is promoted to us as the “collective good” requires for us to bring light to the dark situation that has been imposed upon us and situations we had been put through because of actual experience, its dark reflection on our psyche and threats of what would happen if you speak up.

This is what I have experienced in silence throughout my life, I had to “shut up” and “sit down” and “suck it up”, what happens to you if you are young, lonesome and naive is that you internalize bits and pieces of what these people being a lot more in numbers, much older or more powerful and your continuous struggle of being overloaded with secrets and contradictions, they must know better and there must be something wrong with you, until you stop, zoom in and figure out it is really not.

I shut up about these lies for years and saw other people going through the same, till it became a certain evidence to me that “the greater good” definitely could never be within the system of people, behaviors and standards of conduct currently present, neither is it about staying silent about it.

“The world is a dangerous place to live. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”. – Albert Einstein

I have meditated for years, months, days and hours through the literal definition of darkness trying to find answers, gathering pieces of knowledge and wisdom from different and often seemingly contradicting philosophies, backgrounds and human connections to form a solid identity, before committing to a structure or a certain way of living.

The bible also says:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-11

So, no matter how intense wounds of the heart would trigger feelings of hurt, resentment and vengeance and does overloads your system at times, nature is way stronger than what people think, and that also includes your human nature once you look so deeply into it, so it all eventually dissipates and is replaced with a beautiful vision.

I don’t know how to express this internal transition except with this piece of poetry:

غمست سنك في السواد يا قلم

عشان ما تكتب شعر يقطر ألم

مالك جرالك إيه يا مجنون … و ليه

رسمت ورده وبيت و قلب و علم

وعجبي

– صلاح جاهين

“I have soaked your tip in the darkness of this ink, oh my pen

Intending for poetry that drips with pain and sadness

oh, old friend, what happened to you, and oh, tell me why

you just draw a flower, a home, a heart and a flag

For that I do keep wondering and pondering” – Abdo’s translation of Salah Jahin’s Poetry.

And this internal transition is what allows for a new vision to emerge, there on the top of the mountains, the Stoic rough edges were softened by art and affection and became the foundation for a new beginning, a new belonging and a new community for those who vibe on the same frequency.

#WalaHaja

#oneteam

#TheParadiseProject

———-

Chapter #11: Mohammed’s authentic model for “Community Management.”; Freeing my religion from hijackers

Pursuing a research project on “Community Management”, starting with a question: How did successful communities around the world go about “running their lives”?

The Muslim community – believers and followers of Prophet Mohammed PBUH as the last messenger from God – now accounts for almost a quarter of living humans, 1.9 Billion.

Growing up, you are taught to treat matters of religion as “take it as it is”, don’t argue, don’t think. Furthermore, religion is often used and referenced as a reason for all kind of “unfair” situations forced upon you, a reference to a misplaced religious quote here and there and your god-given human nature and possibly human-rights are violated, clogged and your wellbeing is trashed behind those who hijack religious teachings for their advantage.

On his deathbed, Prophet Mohammed PBUH, handed over his last pieces of advice to his followers. Humans value the last advice on a deathbed and it becomes a duty and responsibility towards the following generations of devoted followers to pass this advice and wisdom along, with the same clarity by which it was received.

Not to screw it for personal or political gains or hide it to enforce a different reality over a huge population of people.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ (107) الأنبياء

“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (107) Al-Anbiyaa

The Holy Qur’an specifies that the last prophet was sent as a “mercy” for all the worlds. But the majority of the Muslim population is living in a different reality.

So, what if we explore what were the real teachings of Mohammed PBUH and what they instilled in action before words and what is the closest modern equivalent of these teachings that would pass an authenticity test.

*First: Stakeholder capitalism with a heart*

Mohammed was a trader, all his life he traveled for trade and his trade was successful prior to his message as he was called “الصادق الأمين” “Alsaadiq, Al’amin”, translated to “Truthful” and “Custodian”, it’s the greatest measure of success in business, honesty and transparency and competence and responsibility.

With that Mohammed and his messages did not come to call people for being lazy or unproductive, though, it called for consistent pursuit of self improvement until you reach the ultimate capacity of “truthfulness” and “competence” in handling your affairs, the exact same model embodied by many cultures and philosophies around the world.

With that also Mohammed has shown that “trade and investment” is not an affair to shy away from participating in, though, it’s a critical matter to the individual and the state that is the best for your to participate and engage while adhering to your principles.

So, it’s free trade and investment, with a social responsibility towards your people through Zakah.

“Zakah or Zakat is an Islamic finance term referring to the obligation that an individual has to donate a certain proportion of wealth each year to charitable causes. Zakat is mandatory for all Muslims in most countries and is considered to be a form of worship.”

So, what is the modern equivalent of that?

Socialism? Obviously not. You might argue that “Stakeholder Capitalism” or “Capitalism with a Heart” is the closest modern concept to what Mohammed has instilled through his actions.

*Second: It’s a Republic (not a hereditary monarchy) الإدارة وليس الملك*

Mohammed PBUH, did not have heirs, nor did he appoint someone to a position of leadership, he only made recommendations of who he thinks is most qualified based on the qualities instilled of “truthfulness” and “competence”.

At the beginning of growth of the “Muslim Community”, the Khalifah, was not chosen as a king, rather, was someone who the majority of people with credible opinion deem to be most “truthful” and “competent” to take leadership.

And the leadership was one of “Responsible Management of Assets and Resources” for a given period of time, not a model of “Ownership” and “Kinghood”. This very basic leadership model has changed with the rapid evolution of “Empires” and the “power hunger” that erupted from competition over land and glory that followed.

The fundamentals of Muslim is to be governed in a “Responsible Republic” that takes into account the needs and competences of all its populations.

*Third: It’s a democracy الشوري*

How does a living community choses what’s best for themselves? They consult their best opinions and choose what is thought to be best for them. Just like “Crowdsourcing” being solutions that comply with their “Principles” and voting on decisions of critical importance to community members.

﴿ وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَىٰ بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ﴾

[ الشورى: 38]

“And those who answer the Call of their Lord [i.e. to believe that He is the only One Lord (Allah), and to worship none but Him Alone], and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them;” 38 Al-Shurra, Holy Qur’an

They conduct their affairs by mutual consultation, not by forced top-down decisions and by “power hungry” manipulators and wars, no, by “mutual consultation”, this is the equivalent of “Think Tanks”, “Compassionate Inquiry” and “The Art of Gathering.”

Thus, these three principles; free trade and investment with consideration to the environment and the people though financial contributions, hiring the most truthful and most competent to positions of power throughout the structure, including and especially the Caliphate and keeping it civil through compassionate dialogue among community members to find out the absolute best solution for their problems that does not violate their principles.

This conclusion brings you back to the fact that over hundreds of years, these authentic teachings of what the message of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH has been hijacked and in its essence, this core message not only agrees, but takes the position of leadership over modern theories and models for how to run a community of people.

P.S. And here is a photo of a beautiful keychain made by Bedouin ladies in Nuwibaa, spontaneously chosen to hold the keys for a community project that I’m working on.

#WalaHaja

#oneteam

#TheParadiseProject

WalaHaja #9: In situations of complex ambiguity; always choose to cooperate first

WalaHaja #9: In situations of complex ambiguity; always choose to cooperate first

The human psyche is absolutely complicated, you could almost never know why someone did something at a past point in time. Though, usually the pains and hurts evolving from these experiences could totally blind you into acting out of poorly informed revenge.

Then, what is the solution? A commitment to constant “Burning of old wood”, a cleaning of old wounds by expressing them boldly and directly and sometimes, not waiting for an acknowledgement or any response from the other party.

I had to do that sometime in my tender age of 17, when I was “tracked down” for 11 months for what seemed like an investigation into my intentions for launching a basic website to share lecture notes with my university, what I thought to be a simple adventure of launching a tech startup, turned to open up the gates of hell on me.

I was not sure whether I would survive that honestly, but I somehow did and not only did I survive but through the experience of suffering I learnt a lot of new things about me and the world, discovered my passion for languages and technology and recognized this spark in launching new things and going by the far edge of “finding solutions to complicated problem by try and error”.

Eleven months of pressure for a 17 year old is a lot, and there are a lot of wounds and pains and isolation is to be experienced, but also there is a lot of hugs, connection and looking beyond the mind to find what’s in the heart.

I’m happy to celebrate that even past these 11 months of hell, I graduated as a stronger and more capable person and able to face life more readily and take more responsibility. I also have learnt to keep secrets until it’s time for them to be known and sometimes keeping them forever and feeling totally okay with it.

The release of these experiences on a certain level – which could vary between different individuals – is necessary for us to live life in harmony.

It’s an upgrade from the economic theory of “Milton Friedman” which promotes “corruption” as a way for the government to interfere in “perfectly competitive markets” to dominate, into a new world of harmony and cooperation, reflected in this hilarious scene from “Beautiful Mind”.

Nash’s Equilibrium in Game Theory:

“Nash equilibrium states that nothing is gained if any of the players change their strategy while all of the other players maintain their strategy. Dominant strategy asserts that a player will choose a strategy that will lead to the best outcome regardless of the strategies that the other players have chosen.”

So, not going for the blond was Nash’s aha moment of discovery of a new potential for the world to live in harmony and cooperation, is not really to seek for “perception” or “ego”, but rather pursue ego death and replace it with humility, listening and understanding.

Burning your old papers is the first individual step in being ready to collect dry wood to make fire that brings people together in discussion, cooperation and healing.

My grandfather executed projects for the British during the time they had control over Egypt and I had a very difficult time processing that, given the pride of the valor of those who have chosen to carry their guns, defend themselves and push back for their independence.

I was told stories about how my grandfather hosted the hub for employment, empowerment and prosperity during extremely difficult times for Egypt and Egyptians and while I was confused with the idea of “working for those occupying their land”, I thought about the alternative, carrying guns and killing people, versus, bringing them together into a discussion to reach the realization of the true and false to be chosen from.

Maybe my grandfather realized and internalized this idea of choosing cooperation within certain limits as the primary choice, going through the pain of “burning your own wood”, until nothing remains but an open heart that allows connection even with those who still think of you as their “enemy” or deploy certain unfair strategies to control and dominate your resources.

In 1944/45, when it was time for the British to say their goodbye to Egypt, it was difficult for those who contracted my grandfather with building a Church in Maadi to take their lovely dog back with them, it seems that my grandfather has done a fairly good job as well, so, as a departing gift from the British, he was given a dog, named “Sila” as a gift of goodwill.

Soon after, “Sila” delivered 11 puppies and my grandfather had a family of 10 already. I had a powerful grandmother with Turkish roots, she determined that feeding the puppies and the kids was way over capacity and given that we are not getting rid of the kids, then it’s time for the doggies to go, so they were sent to another branch of the family in Heliopolis.

During the time of conflict and in the heat of the moment, if our first choice is to go and feel our guns, the world becomes bloody, a better strategy is to each burn their own old dead wood on their own and bring the rest with them into a communion, where people open up, apologize, tell stories and express themselves beyond the limitations of their hurtful past.

Regardless of how many time I was offered the option to settle, I discovered that I’m a gypsy at heart, I just keep moving, seeking knowledge and solutions to complicated problems, though, you don’t really want the pain and the shame of being labelled “an idiot” by some, this pushes you to hide some secret algorithms for protection, until you realize that, these secret algorithms are unnecessary.

And even if I was never offered an explanation or an apology, I choose to move on lightly by burning my own works of the mind and to allow myself to express myself spontaneously from the heart, regardless of how I might be labelled by others.

This messy “intelligent spontaneity” with the ability to go back and correct mistakes, never shying away from how it would look to other people, is the greatest personal work in allowing the chance for the universe to respond to you with the same.

And as it’s said in the bible:

“12 And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:12-14

P.S. Below is a photo of me burning my strategy book developed over the experience of a few years and deciding to pursue the path of my grandfather, living in intelligent spontaneity, opening up to mistakes and correcting them when necessary.

#WalaHaja

#oneteam

#TheParadiseProject

WalaHaja #8: The Joker; the power of integrating your shadow/dark side

WalaHaja #8: The Joker; the power of integrating your shadow/dark side

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” – Carl Jung

I planted chicks at the tender age of 3 ~ 4, supervised by my grandfather who designed the whole “learning experience” and left me a sweet memory and a lesson to be remembered for a lifetime. Now, when I think about it. What is a quicker way to learn about “planting” than to start doing something wrong in a safe learning environment?

It’s not just quick, it’s also dirty, but, so what? Isn’t that what cleaning is for?

If your mistakes are “received well” on the other hand and the lesson is delivered in an equally hilarious and compassionate way, imagine the impact and speed by which learning can take place. It’s funny that this “try and error” is the exact way “machine learning” algorithms process information to “generate new ideas”.

It’s a “Quick and dirty” way of getting from point A to point B, but it’s messy, confusing and often also hurtful. But the messy can be cleaned, the confusion can be clarified and the hurt can eventually heal but the lessons stay for a lifetime and it offers a ruthless competitive edge, wisdom at the speed of thought.

“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.” – Carl Jung

The real war that humans have is inward, it’s the war of the unhealed parts of our psyche that are still in the state of “processing” events from the past. And still reaching the optimal understanding of “how things should be” and “how life should be lived”.

There is something very unique about the potential of cracking this code, it’s actually finding out “how we should be responding to life’s events” while being fully free and fully alive embodying the global qualities of courage, justice, patience and ultimately wisdom.

A beautiful thing about the human mind and conscious is that “the wars that happen inside it” is not only necessary to reach the optimal objective of healing, balance and restoration to its most authentic and original state but also once the proper environment for it is built, the danger coming out from it could be reduced to absolutely “nothing”, it could sound funny, laughable, scary, but hey, it’s just that ones and zeros in a human mind.

In his masterpiece, “Ending your Inner Civil War”, pioneer psychiatrist, Carl Jung shares an outstanding understanding of the potential of humans and the healthy expression of their authentic selves.

Listen to “Ending your Inner Civil War” narrated by Alan Watts:

And here I’m shamelessly quoting the one of my favorite pieces on “Authenticity”:

—– begin copied text —–

The recognition of the fact that behind the social role that you assume; behind all your pretensions to being either a good citizen or a fine scholar or a great scientist or a leading politician or a physician or whatever you happen to be – that behind this façade – there is a certain element of the unreconstructed bum.

Not as something to be condemned and wailed over, but as something to be recognized as contributive to one’s greatness and to one’s positive aspect; in the same way that manure is contributive to the perfume of the rose.” ~ Alan Watts Tribute to Carl Jung

—– end copied text ——

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what has the capacity of connecting generations together, the potential, creativity and freedom of the young with the structures, rules and boundaries of their traditions represented by their history and ancestors.

And the challenge there is not really denying what happened or the fact that it did happen, but learning that “it’s okay”, “it’s funny” and “it’s forgiven” and that in reality given that it was a “learning experiment” guaranteed not to hurt anyone, by then we can boldly state it:

“Task failed successfully.”

And that would be worthy of a celebration and a new lesson to be shared and added to the collective human consciousness, while also allowing the space for “firm, grounded and responsible freedom” within the protective shoulders of human and godly embrace.

And here is a photo of the outcome of “The Joker” learning experiment. It was messy, but absolutely hilarious. I can’t wait to check all the memes 😉

#WalaHaja

#oneteam

#TheParadiseProject

WalaHaja #7: Divine Restoration; The Eye of Horus

WalaHaja #7: Divine Restoration; The Eye of Horus

The Eye of Horus is signed and sealed on top of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids because we can’t move forward without a shared vision, the story of Horus: the young son, Osiris: the willfully blind father and their battle with Seth still fascinates and inspires me from a new angle each time I visit it.

Egypt is said to suffer from highly pronounced signs of generational struggle, where young people resent the control of the older generation, while older people resent the rebellious naivety of the young. As a young man in my twenties, I have personally witnessed signs of the struggle in business, culture, society.

As I completed my 35th year of age and I’m no longer the naively rebellious young man, and interestingly, I’m not either the controlling old yet, hopefully never. Though, I’m fascinated by the solution presented by Ancient Egyptians for how to govern and lead to prosperity.

Horus, the young, naive and idealistic son, loses an eye in the fight against Seth representing chaos and disorder and it’s only when Horus connects back with the wisdom and inspiration of his father, Osiris, he is able to conquer Seth and pave the way to a stable and prosperous Egypt.

I feel that it’s time for that resentment to be processed and for this connection to be re-established where the young are inspired and fascinated with the wisdom and experience of the old and the old are equally inspired and fascinated with the courage, creativity, and innovations of the young.

Let’s work together as one team and make something beautiful. Angels are all over the place protecting us and cheering for us and some of them have given their lives as sacrifices for a better future.

We owe them honesty and truthfulness in our pursuit. We shall all connect together as brothers and sisters.

#WalaHaja

#oneteam

#TheParadiseProject

WalaHaja #6: The APEX Predator, embody all and transcend all

WalaHaja #6: The APEX Predator, embody all and transcend all

In social psychology, the supreme error is what is described below:

“The fundamental attribution error refers to an individual’s tendency to attribute another’s actions to their character or personality, while attributing their behavior to external situational factors outside of their control.”

So, if they did it, it’s because they are corrupt, but If I do it, I was under extreme circumstances you know nothing about.

That’s why in conflict resolution, it’s best for people to “sit together” and speak their heart out of how they felt and thought during a certain incident, everyone gets out of this “setting” with a clean heart and upgraded mindset.

That’s why I’m a big fan of the Bedouin tradition of “قعدة عرب” “Informal Setting attributed to Arabs”.

As humans, we are dancing between two “snakes” in our head and perception:

“Hostile Attribution Bias” and “Rejection Sensitivity Bias”

Hostile Attribution Bias is the tendency to ascribe negative, hostile intent to others’ ambiguous behavior.

Rejection Sensitivity Bias is the tendency to anxiously anticipate, easily perceive, and overreact to rejection.

If you want to commit to the justice of a true warrior, you have to be cornering these two snakes while considering them both till you reach the fine line of justice.

I had to study all the above and practice it while I try to figure out the psychological beside the physical side of being a Samurai, it’s the same with Arab Warriors and probably the same with every human group who had been seeking “Justice” as a governing principle.

If you start every interaction with a positive intend and the positive intend does not go through, your heart and mind try to settle for a reason and one of these snakes is going to become more dominant, you’ll either assume that the other’s behavior has been hostile and aggressive while in fact they were just having a bad day or were triggered by something you said or have done. The same thing you can take some cues from the environment as a sign of rejection and you being not welcome and it might not be intended for that.

A true practice of “Justice” is gathering information and having direct heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind interactions to define things as they truly are and the person who had the one of these snakes in their head “crossing the boundary of justice” then is made to recognize what happened, apologize, correct the situation and benefit the collective from that deep and truthful human experience.

The accumulation of events, experiences and stories of how these snakes has been kept under control in human society is what emerges a “fair and just” society and

Little Abdo, bullied, harassed and smeared had to wear their “Samurai” hat and go into processing mode to define what happened for him and for others and call for a conversation to settle our situation to move forward in openness, love and connection. When the response to this request is “yet another ambush” there is something totally wrong with this social setup, which means that based on the above knowledge, it will “never yield good results”.

This is what I realized after I took a series of “what seemed like obvious betrayals” to call for this kind of “قعدة عرب”, the sequence of actions in which I felt that “injustice” was done to me, was getting close to 10 and nobody wants to talk to you about it. You meet a man, strike and agreement, draft a contract and is fully ready to sign and commit and they look at you as “you are way below me to sign a contract with you”, so your agreement remains “verbal” and “in Emails” and you go in based on your “perceived understanding” to be shocked that they have premeditated an “ambush” during even the activity you organized as “a meeting for us to open our hearts and reach a mutual understanding of justice”.

I love technology and being at the further edge of “playing with new toys and building something awesome with it”, but then, algorithms can’t exist in a vacuum, so I hoped to influence building a “fair and just environment” through which we can create these lovely toys and manage it based on the understanding of “limiting the effects of these snakes in our head”.

My name has the Merciful in it, and I have struggled to practice mercy against offense, but I arrived there and I was still in one piece, the community brand that I worked on built a great following on Twitter and via an Email list, though, the vision needed a “business model” to settle into and while almost close to “3-4” models have been copied and falsified. I thought it’s fair for me to settle for a small part, just 100 square meters and I will get “community members” each to cover the cost of 1 square-meter/month, thus, this 100 square meters will get the first 100 members and then we offer a “list of services” with a profit margin that can even be declared, so, the community project does exist based on membership, we will be able to pay the rent indeed and then we can expand based on our intelligence and efforts.

I shared all these details with the “landlord” and was given a basic contract for when we are ready. I was told that this is still a work  in progress and there is “nothing” going on for now and I’m welcome there, so I will be informed upon availability, so I waited and focused on preparations for when this is available.

But then it was announced that there will be another event at the same place, so, I thought it’s natural for me to visit and check out when the place will be available. I had an income payout that covers the cost for the 2 months required to get started and anticipated to cover the rest from membership sales. A fair chance at building the vision and oh boy, I usually have more hidden than shown and I wake up at 5:20 AM to develop new ideas for the current challenges, so my sense of “free will”, saw this as a fair chance to finally settle this community project, have a fair environment and then I can hand it over to someone and move on with my passion for designing cool uses for technology.

Hosting this event and the fact that it was not as locked as I was led to believe triggered my curiosity to go and asked the CEO about what’s going on, given that “the landlord” was too busy to talk to someone like me. The CEO just told me that a number of 4 or so companies are planning to do the exact same project that I proposed and that they really do not like “conflict of interest” and ended their statement with: They did not call you yet?

The memories of the “ambiguous” 4-5 incidents in which projects that I have spent years and months designing and spending my own hard earned money to finance its development all came to mind, I went home and announced the project without even having a space, what came next was searching and securing a space for it and making the conversation from these curious minds into paying customers and evolving this “potential project” into a solid and sustainable business model that can reach tens and hundreds of thousands of people (as per the information I was able to extract from my meetings including with IFC, World Bank .etc) and out of those the more we offer more value through out membership the more members we will have.

Having openly and transparent communicated that including exact amounts of incoming “payouts” that will be used to cover the costs, It was “unfair” for that project to be handed out to others to do it and I was rushed into an announcement followed by the mission of setting up an operation to “make it work”.

And guess what? I invited the exact same people who were involved in that to join me, outside their campus, yes, but still I did really want to “belong”. Even if their own snakes refuse that for any reason.

The same story above was repeated with someone else, who came traumatized to complain to me that he put the last of the money has has into installations for a specific piece of real estate, to be told that “someone else was brought to do that job” and what he invested his time, passion and money onto is now can only be thrown.

This is when a call for “قعدة عرب” was made, this was an honest invitation to talk “generally” about building a “code of conduct” for our shared community and network, it seems also that this invitation and organization was done properly that “The Provost of the American University of Cairo” showed up and was given an opportunity to speak.

The landlord claimed that he will be traveling, so I responded to that by telling them, that in case of changes in their schedule or plans, a place is reserved for them, also, they have a product to sell, a barter deal to get the space for the event in exchange for them speaking and pitching their offering were made, I even drafted a contract for it to share it but they refused to sign it”.

The day of the event, they were downstairs, they did not show up, they did not send someone and after the event, they claimed that “given that there were not notified”, then such and such is to be owed, they were handed over all proceeds from the basic ticket charged to attendees as per their request. And that got me wondering, if someone responds to the invitation for “making peace with the past in order to move forward with the future” this way, do you see them engaging in any “peaceful” way with anyone else?

Shortly after, plugging the full capacity of my exhausted heart and mind into making it work, pushed away from the original space where this model was designed for and rushed into trusting the wrong people and not managing them properly due to overload and exhaustion, the result is left for you to guess.

This was unfair and I know for sure the same has been repeated with others and I know for sure the “snakes” both in our heads and in our physical environment would “kill” and “poison” for these stories to never be known.

Practicing the justice inside our mind by being fully open to information from our environment and being sharp to judge its accuracy will help us keep these 2 snakes of biases at bay and develop a clear vision for what is just and what is fair.

Once we have this inner clarity, we can go back to people and SPEAK UP, not only for ourselves but for others who suffered the same actions on their hands.

But if the principal is corrupt and connected to everyone above them, do you really expect any “justice” to be served?

That’s when a true Samurai does what they were trained to do.

I studied leadership among packs of wolves and herds of horses, and they possess almost the same intelligence in only allowing the most fair to represent their interests and take charge.

Someone who can clearly declare it:

“I embody all and transcend all”.

I battle my own snakes and keep them at bay most of the time, sometimes I need to be corrected when my impurities and wounds, could also be coming from the same “bites” of these snakes, take over, I understand that others go through the same in their own hearts and minds”, I treat them like I would treat myself and I go beyond the desire to “take what is not mine”.

This is what I came to believe to be the true essence of leadership. What remains is whether there and then we would have the strength and capacities to “apply this fairness” in real life but the presence of strong men who are ready to understand, process and execute what is determined to be most fair.

That’s how animals pick their leadership and by then, “The APEX Predator” is not determined by any specific feature, but rather by their ability to “embody all and transcend all”.

And here is a photo of “The APEX Predator” of “The Paradise Project”, they’re on the top of the dominance hierarchy of the snakes kingdom, it can see, process and digest and only applies its sharp teeth when it’s clear that “justice” has been violated and as you can see, it’s as cute as hell, but as the Arab poet says:

إِنَّ الأَفاعي وَإِن لانَت مَلامِسُها عِندَ التَقَلُّبِ في أَنيابِها العَطَبُ.

Despite their soft and smooth skin, when they decide it’s time to attack, in their sharp teeth there you’ll find the end.

#WalaHaja

#oneteam

#TheParadiseProject

#ادي_يا_جدي

WalaHaja #5: the power of your words

WalaHaja #5: the power of your words

“A Ukrainian dog have bitten a Russian man”

What? Let’s revise that:

“A dog who lives with an Ukrainian family have attacked a Russian man and they felt they needed to go to the hospital”

Enjoying a thoughtful and in-depth conversation with a very profound and gentle German man who teaches self awareness through swimming, chatting about “a prototype of building a community project”, we were interrupted by a Russian friend of mine. I still applied the “Open Doors” policy to people with whom I had a positive exchange, it’s a human need to know that we have “Open Doors” to go to if we face a challenge beyond our heart/mind to solve.

Trauma and fear is no small thing. And I had my share of those, so now I’m able to identify it in others. The Russian man was in a state of fear and confusion, he felt “attacked” and “targeted” or at least had to assume that based on what he heard in the news. So, as the Ukrainian family, they felt threatened by a seemingly angry Russian man telling them that they need to keep their dog on leash if they know they have the capacity to bite. Maybe it’s genetically modified and has some kind of a “remote control chip” planted in his ear or something – you never know where these Autistic AI people are taking us. (Let’s call them our little brothers, invite them to send us their sponsorship proposals and forward their business plans to each other and call it ours? – don’t worry if they get angry after the 3rd time we repeat that, we will “frame” them “blacklist” them and unleash a smear campaign against them, and no one can stand that).

Obviously, the “X” of connection between the German and the Russian man was not possible at that time, so I had to “devilishly” interfere and interrupt to translate between the two. Funny thing is, they both had the same name, though, they had polar opposite cognitive capabilities. One was very raw, wild and cuddly as a bear and the other was as sensitive, reflective and meditative as a gently floating sea creature who refuses to be labelled.

Never underestimate long hours of observation of human exchanges. I was there in the middle smelling their energies and verbally and energetically wrestling with the possibility for a base level of understanding. For now it was a hopeless case and sometimes you need to give people some time for their dust to settle and be ready to be talked to.

Robert Greene is my favorite author, and “The Laws of Human Nature” is a masterpiece. The core advice from the book is “Become a lifetime student of human nature”, as you can see, being “student” is a lifetime game, so I’m often despised at the confidence of “experts” and “mentors” who feel called for throwing “cookie cutter” advice at you right and left with no investment in understanding who you are or what is the context of the problems you are solving.

I like being a “student” and I’m a pretty damn good one. And while I don’t like a lot of problems all at once, I like the opportunity to search for solutions to complicated problems.

And that felt more like a problem outside of the curriculum. I love cracking those.

Feels more like “Good Will Hunting”, the “Wicked Smart” who gets the hot girl’s number slid to them while other contestants claim it was the “kitten eyes” that sealed the deal. I don’t mind positive distractions to my shallow “minded” and shallow “hearted” competition 😉

I love drama for a reason and this scene is one of them:

Anyway, after a night of deep processing a program has erupted , a meditative art healing exercise. By then, “The Paradise” program was almost complete, the Quranic expression of the paradise includes three sentences:

دعواهم فيها سبحانك اللهم

وتحيتهم فيها سلام

وآخر دعواهم أن الحمد لله رب العالمين

My type of intelligence is linguistic and it has a tendency to overload average brains. Our creative director possesses a unique visual intelligence, so it was negotiated into 1 verbal, 1 visual and 1 white space. Fair enough.

I picked the one in the middle since It offered visitors a “good vibe” it reads in Arabic وتحيتهم فيها سلام translated as “their greeting therein is “peace””, I’m a big fan of clear and screaming “codes of conduct” and given that I’m in the driver seat, I get to specify the rules. So, that declaration was shared in Arabic, but the English was not yet.

So, I knew that the Russian bear had Artistic tendencies and I know how to elicit support and positive engagement, so, the Russian bear, bitten by a Ukrainian dog was offered to contribute the calligraphy of “Peace” in English in exchange for hosting a Bedouin-style BBQ for the family and the deal was sealed, he would have done it anyway, but it’s good to find something to “shake hands” on.

Must say the Calligraphy was amazingly done, and in the following scenarios in which angry bears, lions or wolves have entered the Paradise they are pointed to the wall, the Alpha of the place tells you the roles here is as such, if you don’t like it you’ll have to leave, of course, after he makes you look like an “empty tomato jar” in front of everyone else. And offer you to choose between the “Ancient Egyptian Scarab” or “The Sharp teeth of an angry lion”.

So, as with peace, you can employ your shadow side to keep it, but once a possibility of violation is present. Take no step back, fix the Scarab and let the lion’s teeth be shown.

This is the secret algorithm for Peace in the Paradise.

#WalaHaja

#oneteam

#TheParadiseProject

#ادي_ياجدي

P.S. Video of the celebration in the 1st comment.

WalaHaja #4: The Bestower

WalaHaja #4: The Bestower

Just like you, I’m blessed with many gifts. And I think as humans we either attribute these blessings to our little egotistical selves or attribute everything to blessings from a “source” outside of us.

Attributing all beauty and gifts to the “source” removes from our shoulders the burden of having to work hard on “keeping” or “sustaining” them. Since, everything that I can use “my ” to refer to is bestowed upon me with the grace of the “source”, call it God, Allah, or whatever verbal expression you want to use to refer to the one governing source.

This also allow us to experience life from the space of #WalaHaja – the space of nothingness, lack of any desire to control any outcome, living with the flow, just like water.

“Attached to nothing … connected to everything”.

I can’t claim that I have reached that level, though, I have stumbled upon a few interesting people and a few interesting readings, stimulating my intellectual curiosity the most was author David R. Hawkins M.D., Ph.D. and honestly, I forgot to cancel my Audible subscription, so every month for almost 3 years I’m “surprised” with a $15 charge notification to my card and an Audible credit.

And nah, as we say in Arabic “رحم الله امرئ عرف قدر نفسه” which means that God’s mercy shall be granted to those who fairly know themselves. In a random population of 100 people, I would be the 17th person in caring about and prioritizing administrative/repetitive tasks, meaning that 83 people are better than me at it at doing that.

Though, on the same scale, among a population of 100 random people, I would score 1st in “openness to experience”, a scale of ingenuity and innovation, hence, I have internalized my destiny as an entrepreneur to be misunderstood and kind of lived with it with all its coping mechanisms.

So, anyways, with my new “gifted by fate” Audible credit, I pick a monthly audio book from my favorite author. A good company for long walks and vital content for “hacking” and/or “designing” the #WalaHaja algorithm.

The “Paradise” project was one of the early prototypes for the #WalaHaja Enterprises. A “placeholder” for a future “thing” that you are not yet able to “label” and the “thing” itself, does not like labels, which means #WalaHaja is a perfect name for it.

Nature-inspired Technology is the domain. Like extracting algorithms from the natural ecosystem including human interaction. My “openness to experience” allows for the largest possible dataset of “human experiences” to build the basic model.

Anyway, algorithms can’t function in a vacuum and with the lack of credible, aligned “enterprises” in hospitality, I had to build my own #WalaHaja aligned concept. Hence, turn your living space into a “Paradise” project.

In Islam, the 99 names of God are designated to be the most powerful verbal and energetic expressions in the Arabic language. Beyond expression, the words convey certain “suggestive behaviors” for individuals to embody.

The power of the word is that it’s an energetic invitation, an open invitation to certain forces to be invited. For starters there were only places for 4, each represented on a side of a wall and meaningfully translated for non-Arabic speakers to understand what’s going on.

Beside Arr-ah-man, invites the energy of Mercy and Compassion, Al-Wadood, invites affection and “love in action” or “acting lovingly”, Al-Fattah, invites opening of closed door and the fourth Al-Wahhab, opening up a stream into the unknown and the unearned and undeserved, the “outsourcing” of the “act of giving” into a higher entity that chooses to give with its own measure and also takes with its own.

Scoring only 17th in my admin tasks, I’m quite insecure about my handwriting and art skills in general, but translating this one to English was quite intense especially with someone who’s 1st in “openness to experience” and the Arabic language being such a powerful animal with massive number of options.

Following the model of “collapsing possibilities”, the most accurate expression of the meaning on the receiving end of this energy is saying: “It was “bestowed” upon me”, hence the choice of the word was made.

There are two ways to look at the world, one is that you are everything there is to be had and that you have earned it all yourself and another is that you don’t mind putting yourself in the position of being #WalaHaja and relax in confidence of having all  your needs and wants “bestowed upon you”.

Even if on the earthly level, you have to work 12 hours a day for it or enter into ruthless, cut-throat conflicts with small minded people who refuse to see the big picture, according to the Sufi mystics, these are the acts of the hands, which shall be ideally separate from the acts of the hearts.

And so it goes. As much as beauty lies in the hearts, so as our diverse concepts of a “Paradise”, it also lies in our hearts. So, as the potential for people to build their own diverse concepts of what a “Paradise” would feel to them and be willing to write, share and invite people to enjoy their own version of it.

Ain’t that such a pretty decent tourism concept for Sinai?

#WalaHaja

#oneteam

#TheParadiseProject

WalaHaja #3: The Opener

WalaHaja #3: The Opener

There is something beautiful and graceful about the idea and gesture of “opening doors”. When you open the door for someone you communicate that they are welcome without effort. That I’m not only inviting you, but I will also take the effort and open the door for you, so, you only usher yourself inside.

You could also stay on the other side of the door and hand them over the keys, gesturing that now, it’s all yours. Having experience with hosting people, I can tell you people eventually pick up on these gestures even if they don’t exactly understand the meaning right away, they pick up the vibe.

We grew up with the idea that certain doors are meant to be closed. Or to be particular, it’s closed for certain “types” of people. It’s passed down to us as a rule and as a fact. Though, if we creatively and curiously question the potential of opening certain “closed doors” and how it might bring good, we at least feel that we deserve a conversation with whoever has the power to keep that door closed.

The Opener, is one of the 99 names of god, the name brings the power of opening whatever door that certain “powers” mean for it to be closed.

I grew up with an obsession for systems and structures, and structures require the exploration of all doors and their potential and the answer to the question of why? Why are we keeping these doors closed?

The patriarchy and/or the matriarchy or whoever gives themselves the power to open and close, set rules, probably tens, hundreds or thousands of years ago, that certain doors are open and certain doors are closed.

But what if the time has come to question the validity of keeping a certain door closed? Can we even have a conversation about it?

If God is the opener of everything beautiful, then who would like to give themselves the privilege of closing a door that brings goodness to people? And what is their decision based on? 

And if we are gifted with the inspiration to allow certain doors to be open and if we are willing to pay the price of the adventure of demonstrating the potential beauty that certain doors could lead to, are we even given the chance to express our inspiration?

Hold the door

Hold the door

Hold the door

There are certain doors that are meant to be shut and we all appreciate the sacrifice exerted on keeping the doors of evil shut and secured. Honor and tribute are to be paid in full to the beautiful souls that keep these doors shut.

But what if certain doors are only shut because of fear? or lack of vision? or lack of understanding?

What if the world changes so fast and it’s time for certain doors to be open? Who shall give themselves the privilege to keep a door shut that holds treasures of goodness for the people?

And if we catch the vision of a beautiful open door, isn’t it our duty and responsibility to, not violently open the door but to question, demonstrate and gather a discussion of what it might hold?

What is our greatest mission on earth?

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ (30)

(30) And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”

And isn’t that inspiration in the heart and in the vision a duty and responsibility humankind is meant to deliver?

{ إنا عرضنا الأمانة على السماوات والأرض والجبال فأبين أن يحملنها وأشفقن منها وحملها الإنسان إنه كان ظلوما جهولا } ( الأحزاب : 72 )

(72) Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant.

Some messages bear a cost for it to be delivered. And the best we can do in life is to offer the world the cost it demands us to deliver our inspiration. And question not whether our fellow men and women shall deliver theirs, but leave it up to them to do as they wish with theirs.

So as none of us is capable of opening a door god did not mean for it to be open yet. And also, none of us shall be able to keep a door closed that god has determined for it to be open.

Then no matter what it takes, the tender smiles of a passionate advocate, or the red eyes of a berserker rage, come hell or high water, the keys shall be delivered…

#WalaHaja

#OneTeam

#TheParadiseProject

WalaHaja #1: The Merciful

WalaHaja #1: The Merciful

I survived a certain death in 2022, and for that, I feel grateful.

It taught me that sometimes all that it takes for you to win is just not to die.

Four times it feels as if someone is pulling you down from unknown sides of you, four times with escalating intensity and a new response every time. It was an event of physical exertion beyond the emotional and spiritual ones. An electric shock, the 220-volt main supply to a new house.

The 1st wave was sudden, a shock. a quick realization that this is serious, the physical feeling of being pulled down very strongly, and the down not only feeling in the physical but seemingly in the spiritual world as your vision goes into a sneak peek into a dark realm, underneath, that felt somehow strangely familiar. The Snap realization that something has started, something that can have a stay in ending you. The 1st spontaneous physical response is poorly coordinated, with a lack of realization of how this works, what is it, and what does it want, exactly?

Since you haven’t yet digested what is going on.

And between peak waves/pulls, there is a fraction of time, prepping a defense for a possible repetition, a powerful wrestling jump, that quickly proves to be useless against such an unfamiliar force.

Another peek into darkness.

Oh, Repeat again, 10x force.

And there and then you realize on a subway style, that it is really a “that’s it?” moment. And just like that, it comes down to that? Now you can have a brief moment with god. Last prayer? “I have responsibilities” was probably mine. Something along the lines of an unfinished mission and people to protect and care for.

And somehow after giving up on your own power, a fourth jump knocks you out of the electric loop, after realizing what you just went through, with first human contact the way you hold yourself makes it difficult to imagine that it was a matter of life or death or to explain the event with its specifics.

Immediately after that, It was a long night of some spiritual exploration (warfare) and some befriending curious souls and having conversations with them until they feel no need to claim the territory, of course after giving them reasons why not to feel the need for that.

They say things about the house when you are the first person to stay in it. There is a certain prayer and ritual, respecting the spirits who had been living in that space and do not expect humans. They will have to go.

Since you did not die, they’ll have to leave. And you make them do it by being firm, commanding, and respectful.

And I thought if we believe this experience in the spirit world, why wouldn’t I continue doing the same, commanding things to leave In a firm respectful language, across all dimensions, from a position of power like surviving an electric shock or even paying my dues.

And yes, I had to stand by the door and declare victory.

I was the only surviving male of 7 pregnancies. So, I’m expected to survive.

Maybe most of the time, these stories remain a secret for some reason.

It feels like a layer of ancient protection, at the very last moment of realization that this goes beyond my limited power, an ancient face slowly gesturing to you that the music still goes on… the spirit of all the mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles and all the grandmothers and grandfathers … celebrating also that our bloodline still comes with a pretty strong heart…

At least that’s how it felt to me.

It was a come-back year for conferences. It’s kind of funny but getting back to business seemed all familiar, with speaking gibberish, around a networking table with a very insightful and particular conversation, it all came down to how come this Egyptian guy has blue eyes? And the hand gestures used by the person answering to explain the diversity of the gene pool here, and the “repeated occupations”, hehe! I didn’t understand why not discuss that in my presence, not noticing that I just moved to the next table, I would have loved to be engaged with the conversation.

You feel kind of disappointed that the memorable thing about our long conversation was this guy’s eye color and genetic heritage. I said some important things on this table. You know!

Enough eavesdropping!

People in the entrepreneurship space seem to be having some intensity with the shifting economy and collapsing alliances. I ran a brand in that space since 2008, peaking in 2011-2014, oh hell, I represented CSOs/private sector in Egypt at the world bank annual meetings in 2013 in Washington DC. I also tasted a few of these “early shocks” and wrote about them long before it came to the surface. Now, I ceased to be able to ignite any interest beyond an eye roll.

Sometimes it’s better to reset and start from scratch.

My two cents to people in that space would be exactly what my experience teaches: Sometimes all that you need to win is just not to die. 

Maybe you can recall your very own ancient faces…and tell us about them as you survive more and more challenges. When you get close to what you’re facing it ceases to scare you, it becomes something you live with.

There is a certain grace in old faces, no matter what race or gene pool they are from.

Bring your own story to the venture and move forth with a powerful connection to your roots. Make it the human experience it is. Recalling beautiful faces and prayers of embrace and protection not from external gods of technology and capital but the deeply rooted connection to family, friends, and tribe.

The “tribe” was the dream of the brand I founded. That warm human connection and respectful dialogue we were able to keep for a while. Life teaches a lot through action and example.

If I talk about an ecosystem of survival for 2023, I would choose to bring Zaynab, my grandmother. Her comfortable face, her grace, and her generosity.

Life could be simple. Just ask yourself who would you choose to bring to your ecosystem? The rest wouldn’t matter, to you at least…

#WalaHaja

#oneteam

#TheParadiseProject

What is #WalaHaja?

What is #WalaHaja?

tl;dr: Ending with “We are not in war with nature, we are nature!” after restlessly waking up at 2 AM for no obvious reason (except sleeping at 7 PM, hehe), Abdo decides to grab a coffee and reflects on a YouTube video arriving at an articulation of #WalaHaja as part of the new book (and another personal memoir) he’s writing.


I’m deeply touched by this video both intellectually and emotionally. Stoically and taoistically (I just made up a word, googled it and it turned out to exist), video in the first comment or search youtube: “Who We Really Are… When Everything Goes Wrong”

There are two ways to view the world, either that we are separate from everything and everyone and thus our best strategy for survival ought to be controlling everyone and everything around us, or that we are holistically connected to everyone and everything beyond our little intellect can conceive and thus our best strategy is to surrender, let go, and open up about the nature of what’s happening around us.

Opening up without structure can be dangerous as structures are necessary for survival and travel (having enough water and food during a mountain hike, calculating directions, energy level, covering your head from the burning sun, having good/reliable company, watching your steps, recovering bad mistakes), and closing off will result in our own demise and destruction and that of others, as we go back into inflicting our wounds onto others – even if and when they deserve it -.

Factually, our best strategy is to have as much control as nature permits us to have and to use that control to mimic the way nature works by a deep understanding of the laws of nature not only from the limited perspective of the laws of physics, math, psychology but from the direct exposure to the sun, the mountains, the seas, the animals, the dogshit, the garbage, the relentless drive of our natural ego, the excitement of our passions and the moaning of our lovers.

Take that balance and harmony and spread it over a timeline of daily actions, perceptions, and decisions and you get a life well-lived, not necessarily an easy, conflict-free life. But it could it a harder path as we grind deeply against two groups of people, those who are living under the illusion of absolute control and those who are living in the illusion of absolute freedom.

There are much rejection, alienation, and smearings to be had, but as we embody the practice of our balanced ideals, the same natural lifestyle allows us the strength, tenacity, and patience to build, support, and empathize even under the said circumstances and our belonging by then does not become as that of a belonging to a “group of people” versus another one, but a belonging into a ideal and a collective consciousness that transcends limited borders, manipulated intellect and distorted visions.

By then embodying and empowering our powerful and natural ego, becomes an act of pride other than shame as we express what mother nature has desired, nurtured, and invited to its embrace even by the time it thought it was being denied, rejected and expelled. And our drive towards bold, precise, and powerful action, even when and especially when encountered with resistance, blame, or hostility is responded to with, mostly, openness, flexibility, and patience, at least, most of the time. As we all know, nature can be nasty sometimes, and so we are capable of being when called for!

After years of emersion into Stoicism, by the end of last year, I fall in love with Taoism, December 31st, 2019, I recorded this video (https://www.instagram.com/p/B6vc1rNnEeA/) stating my intention of dropping all my big plans and paperwork and get in “the state of flow” or “intelligent spontaneity” as promoted by Taoism, I’m grateful to my journey and all those who contributed to it, (positively or negatively – though negatively seems favorable these days, hehe), that brought me here to experience that first hand and I look forward to all the powerful, beautiful and precise actions I intend for 2021.

This is the closest explanation of the #WalaHaja hashtag I had been using (before I even encode its meaning) as I have yet plenty to be discovered and possibly share.

Thank you Maryanne Stroud Gabbani and Al Sorat Farm family, humans, dogs, horses (here goes a long list of creatures) .etc for the warm, healing embrace and major inspiration at a time that I have needed the most. Thank you, J. E. Rash and Legacy International family for putting my inner warfare into models and systems and sometimes articulating (and others helping me / letting me articulate what needs to be articulated), I’m forever grateful as I draw my own path and conclusions.

Bye bye 2020. ya welcome, ya welcome 2021. We are not in war with nature, we are nature!

P.S. And for Facebook algorithms sake, here is an unrelated (really?) photo of Abdo confidently crossing the shady, previously terrifying fields of seagrass borders, leaving shallow reef, coastal water behind, and entering into the open, deep water. Guided, accompanied, and photographed into this new, unfamiliar and unknown world to him by his friend and mentor Tony Bo in this lovely piece of earth, called Dahab, that he now calls home.